Cut to the Monkey is the story of a filmmaker's journey through Hollywood—revealing the techniques behind how the experts find the funny in any project—by a filmmaker who has worked with some of the funniest people in the business and has edited Emmy-nominated episodes from series such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Veep, and Who Is America?
Nobody knows who first said, "Dying is easy, comedy is hard." But almost everyone in the film business agrees it's true. Roger Nygard shares his anecdotal experiences in television, features, and documentaries as a filmmaker and editor—struggles and successes any filmmaker can identify with. Nygard also includes tips for Hollywood professionals and fans alike on how to successfully navigate the business of being funny.
Along with a major focus on film editing, the author shares filmmaking stories that will leave readers feeling inspired and better prepared to deal with their own struggles. The book also features contributions about writing, creating, and editing comedy from some of the biggest names in the comedy business, including Judd Apatow (Girls, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Alec Berg (Silicon Valley, Barry), Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Who Is America?), Mike Binder (The Upside of Anger, Black or White), Larry David (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld, Veep), David Mandel (Veep, The White House Plumbers), Jeff Schaffer (The League, Dave), Krista Vernoff (Shameless, Grey's Anatomy), and others.
Roger Nygard grew up outside Minneapolis on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. At age seven he discovered his father's 8mm camera has been making comedy films ever since. Nygard has directed TV series such as The Office and The Bernie Mac Show, and he has edited Emmy-nominated episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Veep, and Who Is America? As an award-winning filmmaker and documentarian, Nygard has tackled serious topics in a humorous way, in films like Suckers, Trekkies, The Nature of Existence, and The Truth About Marriage.
NetGalley Review: 4 stars
Last updated on 10 Oct 2021
"This is a combination of industry memoir and technical guide to film and television editing and storytelling. Film students and others aspiring to work in the industry will probably find both parts quite compelling.
As an interested outsider, I much preferred the nerdy details. Reading about the theory of comedy, the structure of storytelling, and even the mechanical aspects of how to mix sound was absolutely fascinating! For me this was at its best not when we were discussing Larry David again (not that he doesn't have plenty of expertise and insight to offer) but when concepts were illustrated by a wonderfully wide-ranging list of films and TV shows (references to the Iranian film A Separation happily coexisted with wisdom mined from Adam Sandler's The Waterboy). The thoughtful variety of works cited underscores the universality of the core concepts of what makes a joke funny or a story watchable.
Anyone wanting to pursue a creative aspect of film or television production would do well to give this a close read. Those who merely find the subject interesting will find a lot to enjoy, but should feel free to skim without remorse when it starts getting very "inside".
Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review!"—L Gage, educator at BookWorks
“Roger Nygard is a funny man.
That is, he's a sought after editor and filmmaker, and now author, who has written an excellent book on the art, craft and business of cutting comedy; Cut To The Monkey.
And the book is funny as well as incredibly insightful. It should be on your Christmas list for sure.”—Jonny Elywn, Cut/daily.com
“Roger Nygard’s book Cut to the Monkey is like a secret weapon for filmmakers.”-Chris Gore, Filmthreat
“This book isn’t just great. It’s essential!”-Jonny Elwyn, Cut/daily